FEC Shirks its Responsibility (Again)
The Federal Elections Commission is an embarrassment. Yesterday its members decided, by a 4-2 vote, to leave in place the current unsatisfactory rules for dealing with independent "527" political advocacy groups. A federal judge had ruled in April that the Commission should either "start crafting new rules or to issue a better explanation of how it will be able to regulate the groups effectively under existing rules," which involves handling each case individually (that worked really well in 2004).
Commissioners voted against a proposed rule that would have restricted the amount "527" groups could receive and spend. Instead, they said, they'll continue to adjudicate each case on its own ... given that questions from the '04 season are still yet to be decided, new cases ought to be resolved by, oh, 2010 or so. This is not appropriate. While I would rather see Congress be involved here and reach agreement on a bill to regulate "527" groups (at least to a small degree), the FEC needs to enforce existing law and perform its regulatory functions.